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DBA Installer QA

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DBA Installer QA

(Updated 9 April 2001)

DBA Installer QA
DBA Installer QA

Is a new antenna required to receive digital television?

What are current antenna installation anomalies?
Which frequency bands should antennas be capable of receiving?
What channels have been allocated to my local television services?
What channels will be used for digital television and datacasting in particular areas?
Where do I find out more information on digital television installation issues?

Is a new antenna required to receive digital television?
Most people will have excellent digital reception for their digital TV set from their existing antenna provided it is in good repair and is connected with good quality coaxial antenna cabling.

In developing the digital channel plans, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has given particular attention to ensuring that, as far as possible, consumers would not be required to purchase an additional receive antenna. In some areas, however, this may not be possible.

Therefore it is very likely that when digital transmissions start in a particular area the viewer will be able to receive both the new digital services and their present analog television without the need to upgrade or replace their antenna.

Some VHF antennas in metropolitan areas may need to be re-tuned or even replaced to receive digital television on channels channels 11 and 12.

However, if the viewer currently receives good analog reception there should be no reason to buy a new antenna unless and until it proves to be inadequate.

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What are current antenna installation anomalies?

Now that digital television is getting under way in Australia, we are gaining experience in making digital terrestrial television work in the installed antenna base.

Television antenna installers and broadcasters are beginning to identify some installation anomalies already present in domestic and commercial premises.

These anomalies usually involve the use of installation solutions in inappropriate ways. The identified anomalies include

  • The use of poor quality cabling, connectors and associated components

  • The inappropriate use of filters – stopping distribution of additional channels while attempting to reduce interference to analog

  • Failing to reduce Band I (Ch 2) and other channel levels causing overloading in amplifiers and TV tuners

  • Failing to reduce FM (Band II) signals causing interference to analog channels in Band III

  • The use of distribution amplifiers in lieu of masthead amplifiers

  • The use of masthead amplifiers in lieu of distribution amplifiers

  • Overloading of amplifiers – inadequate derating of output level and gain

  • In general carrying out installations without consideration of requirements as set out in Australian standards (AS 1367) for analog TV

DBA reminds installers of the need to be equipped with good quality field strength meters, to base quotations and installations on surveyed field strengths, to test and take appropriate measurements of work as completed on site, to leave consumers with a written record of the reception characteristics of the site, and to use good quality materials and correct installation methods at all times.
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Which frequency bands should antennas be capable of receiving?
Analog and digital television services will use the following frequency bands:

  • Band 1 VHF Channels 0-2 (Analog Only)

  • Band 3 VHF Channels 6-12

  • Band 4 UHF Channels 28-38

  • Band 5 UHF Channels 39-69

However not all bands will be used in each area. Likewise not all antennas receive all bands or channels.

A typical VHF antenna configuration is:

  • VHF Band 1 and 3 (providing Channels 2 and 6-12)

The typical UHF antenna configurations are:

  • UHF Band 4 and 5 (providing Channels 28 – 69)

  • UHF Band 4 only (providing Channels 28-38)

  • UHF Band 4 and Lower Band 5 (providing Channels 28-50)

  • UHF Band 5 only (providing Channels 39-69)

The typical combined UHF/VHF antenna configurations are:

  • VHF Band 1 3 and UHF Band 4 (providing Channels 2, 6-12 and 28-38)

  • VHF Band 3 and UHF Band 4 (providing Channels 6-12 and 28-38)

The bands used and therefore the antenna required depend on which transmitters service your area.
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What channels have been allocated to my local television services?
The ABA recommends attempting reception of digital signals with existing antennas to determine whether it is necessary to replace or upgrade the antenna.

The details of the channels allocated and likely transmission commencement dates will be made available on this web site, as the ABA finalises its planning.

In some areas, the ABA has had to plan more than one transmitter – a main transmitter (high power) and a secondary transmitter (low power). The transmitter providing the better reception for your area will determine the antenna required.

In metropolitan areas, for reception from the main transmitters (high power), antennas should be capable of receiving bands 1 (for analog services only) and bands 3 4 (for analog digital services).

In metropolitan areas, for reception from the secondary transmitters (low power), antennas should be capable of receiving bands 4 5 (for analog digital services).

In regional areas, antennas should be capable or receiving band 4 and band 5 and in some cases band 3 (depending on the frequencies allocated to the local television services).

In some areas multiple bands may be used requiring multi-band antennas or multiple antennas depending on the channels currently used in a particular area.
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What channels will be used for digital television and datacasting in particular areas?
When the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has finalised their digital television channels plans, Digital Broadcasting Australia will publish the channels made available in each area of Australia on the DBA web site.

The ABA has a planning objective for all digital free-to-air television services to be in the same frequency band as the current analog services in each area of Australia.

So wherever possible, if an analog channel is currently in the VHF band then so will the equivalent digital channel.

The following is an example of the Sydney Television Channel Plan for main transmitters.

Example of the Sydney Television Channel Plan for main transmitters

    VHF

    Channel 2

    ABC Analog

    Channel 6

    Seven Digital (Main)

    Channel 7

    Seven Analog

    Channel 8

    Nine Digital (Main)

    Channel 9

    Nine Analog

    Channel 10

    Ten Analog

    Channel 11

    Ten Digital (Main)

    Channel 12

    ABC Digital (Main)

    UHF

    Channel 28

    SBS Analog

    Channel 29

    Unassigned Datacasting

    Channel 30

    ABC Digital (Low power)

    Channel 33

    Nine Digital (Low power)

    Channel 34

    SBS Digital

    Channel 35

    Unassigned Datacasting

    Channel 45

    Ten Digital (Low power)

    Channel 48

    Seven Digital (Low power)

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Where do I find out more information on digital television installation issues?
This QA will be updated as new information comes to hand.

An Installers Handbook has been prepared by the Federation of Commercial Television Stations (FACTS) to assist Australian installers with antenna installations and cabling to get the optimum reception of digital signals.
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